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Connecticut House Democrats and Republicans introduce bipartisan children’s mental health bill

Danielle Wedderburn
The Connecticut state Capitol building in Hartford.

Connecticut House Democrats and Republicans have introduced a bipartisan bill to deal with what they say is a mental health crisis caused by the pandemic.

Suicide rates and other mental health issues among children and teens were a concern before the pandemic, and now it’s worse, said Speaker Matt Ritter. That’s why House Democrats and Republicans have worked together on the bill to address children’s mental health, he said.

”We will have our differences. We will have votes that go one way or the other. But this is an opportunity to bring people together and show the state and the country what happens when folks work together,” said Ritter.

The bill expands mental health services for children by providing state grants to schools to hire more social workers and psychologists. It also requires health insurers to provide more coverage for behavioral healthcare, and provides money for mental health workforce development.

Lawmakers propose paying for it with federal COVID relief funds.

In the Senate, Democrats and Republicans have introduced separate proposals.

As WSHU Public Radio’s award-winning senior political reporter, Ebong Udoma draws on his extensive tenure to delve deep into state politics during a major election year.